So I’m off to Porto tomorrow. On my own. I really relish a solo trip but, like many people, I sometimes find the idea of travelling alone a little daunting. There are lots of hang-ups about solo travel. Perhaps you see it as something you did (or should have done) when you were younger? Or maybe you worry you’ll seem selfish if you leave your partner at home? What if you get lonely? Or everyone thinks you’re a bit weird? It’s funny how we can find reasons not to do something, even if those barriers don’t really exist. A simple weekend away on your own can be a very enriching and liberating experience, so here are 5 reasons you should make the leap and book a solo trip!
1. Rediscover yourself
After a couple of years blissfully holidaying with my partner, I decided to do some travelling on my own. This was quite amusing to us both as he is a fantastic navigator, whereas I am notorious for marching off in the completely wrong direction. We even joked about putting a tracking app on my phone so when I inevitably got lost I could call him for help. It’s funny that I was nervous about being lost as I’d already travelled on my own years before we met.
Of course, being forced to rely just on myself again helped me to become a better navigator and reminded me that I’d always be able to work anything on my own. I did get REALLY lost just once in Lisbon, but figuring it out was one of the most memorable parts of my trip (and helped me find myself again too).
2. No compromise
Do you remember the last time you thought about a holiday and didn’t have to consider multiple opinions or needs? These factors can often make selecting a destination or the style of a holiday quite difficult, but there’s nothing easier than choosing a trip for yourself. So where do YOU want to go?
Think about all the places you’ve dreamed of going and pick the one that works best for you. Whether it’s trekking to Machu Picchu or surfing in Big Sur, it’s time to start crossing some of those dream trips off your bucket list! Plus, lots of small group tour companies, like G Adventures and Intrepid Travel, offer these type of dream trips with like-minded travellers so you don’t actually have to go on your own.
3. No pressure
Holidays are of course a great opportunity to reconnect with your partner or friends, but sometimes this can leave you a little exhausted and in need of another just to recover! A solo trip really is a chance to escape the pressures of everyday life and enjoy some serious ‘you time’. It doesn’t have to be a grand adventure either: a weekend on the coast in a cosy hotel could be the perfect solo trip for you.
4. Real enrichment
Often, it isn’t easy to convince a friend or partner to join you on an activity holiday. If you’ve been dreaming about a yoga retreat or learning a language in another country, then why not go by yourself?
These experiences are a rewarding self-investment, whether it’s acquiring a new skill or for your own health and wellbeing. Plus, most companies offering activity holidays, such as Yoga Escapes and CESA Languages, gear their experiences towards solo travellers so you’ll be surrounded by like-minded adventurers.
5. Make new friends
I went to Stockholm for a weekend with a friend recently and talked non-stop with her for 48 hours – and no one else. It’s easy to not engage with strangers when holidaying with someone you know, but meeting new people is one of the most rewarding parts of travel.
Being on your own really forces you outside of your comfort zone but also gives you the chance to make new friends. It’s one of the reasons I will always opt to stay at a (really nice, super stylish) hostel, so there’s instantly a more social environment. It’s also how I met these crazy, amazing people in Copenhagen – I just started chatting with them in a club, and ended up at a rooftop party at dawn!
So maybe now is the time to start thinking about where YOU want to go in 2017!